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Most football-related concussions happen at practice

New study involved nearly 20,000 youth, high school, college players

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It's not just football games where concussions are a concern. A new study finds a majority of them happening during practice on the high school and college level.

"We should be sensitive that symptoms may occur after practice instead of just raising concern about concussion that occurs on Friday night we should be concerned about concussion that occurs during the week," explained Dr. Andrew Russman, who did not take part in this study but treats concussion at Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers at the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research studied nearly 20,000 youth, high school, and college football players. They found 54 percent of concussions on the youth level occurred during games, but 58 percent of concussions on the high school and college levels happened during practice.

High school football also had the highest concussion risk overall. Researchers say the findings should prompt coaches to consider implementing strategies that limit player contact during practices.

"We should be looking at the number of practices at the high school level and potentially reducing those contact practices, in order to reduce concussions that occur in practice, and potentially concussions that happen during game time due to the repeated collisions that occur throughout the week," said Russman.

Complete findings for the study can be found online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.